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Economic Impact: Component of career choice should be balanced with job opportunities

It is that time of year when high school graduates and rising seniors are making decisions on which courses to take that will impact their work-related opportunities when they graduate from college.

While interest is an important component of career choice, it should be balanced with job opportunities.

High school students often say that they would like to be a photographer or an actor, but job opportunities are scarce in those fields.

Based on estimates made by Chmura Economics & Analytics, 445 photographers worked in the Richmond metro area in the first quarter of 2016 and 276 of them are sole proprietors.

On the other hand, an average 502 registered nurses will be needed each year over the next 10 years in the metro area to fill new jobs or those vacated by retirees or people moving to another occupation.

Software developers and computer systems analysts also are on the list of top 10 occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree that businesses in the Richmond area will need over the next decade.

Another factor that might help students narrow their career choice is potential earnings, which varies significantly by occupation.

And it also is important to consider the entry-level wage that a new graduate is likely to receive rather than the annual average wage that includes individuals with experience.

All of the top 10 occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree in the Richmond area receive a higher entry-level wage than the average of $31,500 for all occupations in the region.

The highest paying entry-level occupation is financial managers at $75,700, which requires previous experience working in finance before managing other workers.

At $58,200, software developers earn the highest starting wage without previous experience.

Students who have done their homework to find out if they will be able to find a job in the career of their choice when they graduate along with how much they can expect to make in that job will be in better shape to pay off their student loans when they are handed their degrees.

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Next »What to do and where to live? Intersecting education, earnings, purchasing power, and return on investment: Part I